I’ve been helping people declutter and create organization systems for more than 6 years professionally. In that time, I’ve noticed see some patterns in clients’ homes. First, everyone is embarrassed and thinks they are the only one who has ever struggled with organization. Nothing could be further from the truth. We all struggle with some kind of disorganization. Second, just about everyone has too much of the following items in their home. The problem is that if left unchecked they will continue to accumulate and they multiply when you’re not watching 😉 Here are the 5 things that I know you need to toss today to declutter your home:
Whether you order regularly from online stores or not, there is never a dearth of cardboard boxes in our homes. Whether they are leftover from buying a new printer, phone, or pair of shoes, they seem like they could be used for something really important in the future but they never do. They get tossed in a cabinet or a closet and never heard from again. Go through your house and recycle all of the excess cardboard you have. You’ll be amazed at how much you have when you put your mind to finding it all. *I only keep cardboard boxes from purchases until I know I am going to keep the item. If there is a question that I might return it, I hang on to it. Once the decision is made the item is either shipped back or the box is recycled.
Like cardboard boxes, these multiply when you turn your back. Has anyone ever gone back and used the extra duck sauce/ ketchup/ mayonnaise/ salad dressing that came with a take away order? It is much healthier to keep your own bottles of dressing or condiments in your home than to use mass produced/ chemically enhanced products.
Not to go all Joan Crawford on you but, “no more wire hangers!” The hangers and plastic bags that are used at the dry cleaners are intended for you to get your clothes home safely, protected from the elements. Your clothes need to breathe so throw away the plastic bags once you put them in your closet. If you want to recycle the bags, you can tie a knot in the bottom and use it as a trashcan liner. The only time I suggest you hang on to a couple is when you travel to prevent wrinkling.
Wire hangers leave creases on the shoulders of shirts and sweaters so use velvet or wooden hangers whenever possible. Recycle your wire hangers by returning them to the dry cleaners. Keep a paper shopping bag in your closet to put them in until you return to the cleaners.
These also fall in the category of “things that reproduce behind my back” and they are always spilling out of cabinets. They come from parties, networking events, fast food restaurants, sporting events and always seem so important to hang on to. But they don’t last forever—they lose their tops, they melt in the dishwasher, and they get used as a dirty paint brush holder for an art project. Once they’ve past their prime, toss or store them where they are being used: garage, craft room, play room, or under the sink. You’re not going to immortalize a special event by keeping a plastic cup forever.
It could be plastic or cloth or paper, but I guarantee you have more than enough! These fall in the category of “I know they are useful for something so I should hang on to them.” True, plastic grocery bags are useful for lots of purposes (doggie poopy bags, trash can liners, wet swimsuit holder, etc.) but limit the number you have to a specific container or number. These can be recycled at the grocery store if you’re not using them faster than they are being replaced.
Cloth grocery bags accumulate as promotional or business swag or party memorabilia. Keep a few, just don’t keep all of them. Pick your favorites or the ones in the best condition and use the rest for taking donations to be dropped off.
Paper bags from boutiques feel like a badge of honor, especially if it was a treat purchase. Just like the cloth bags, keep your favorites or ones that you really like. You just don’t have to keep ALL of them. The small ones make brown bagging your lunch much chic-er. If they are plain and in good condition, you can use them as gift bags. Set a limit of space and don’t let them exceed their allowance.
These items will continue to accumulate, like a lot of other things in your home, because they are a part of how we function. Today is the perfect day to tackle one of these areas and clear out what is no longer serving you. Clearing the excess makes room for new plus you get to enjoy what you currently have.
Edit, enjoy, repeat!